- Lesson Details
In week ten, master illustrator Mark Westermoe will show you how to start a plaster cast drawing. You will learn to use the lay-in drawing to describe the forms of the face. Mark will introduce you to several sculptures to study and take inspiration from. Practicing on a plaster cast is a great way to improve your sense of value, light, and form.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
I'm going to give a lesson on drawing from plaster cast.
This is a something that we studied and my instructor, primary instructor
studied, and most of the other artists from whom I learned also studied.
It goes back hundreds of years in Western art.
It's something that's very useful in the development of your skills and your eye.
And this goes for people who are illustrators like myself or portrait
painters, especially in this case, since we have just the bust of a head Brutus
by Michelangelo, what are the advantages?
What can we learn by drawing from plaster casts?
Well, if you draw from still life, unless you're doing floral arrangements
strictly, then you're going to have just concentrated study of form and volume,
whether it's a ceramic vase or a basket or any other elements of statue that
you might place in your still life.
In the case of plaster casts, we're doing the same thing.
We're drawing from a three-dimensional object or set of objects.
So we're studying the form.
But we also notice that this is a plaster cast, which does not reflect light.
So it doesn't show a lot of highlights and cross lights, which can kind
of confuse the issue at this stage.
It's got areas that are nicely simplified in the case of Michelangelo
being such a great artist.
It doesn't have changes in complexion, which we encounter when
we're drawing from a live model.
It doesn't have changes in the color of the hair.
The shadows that are cast are even and clear, and can't be
confused with say dark sideburns.
So in the end, we're going to have about four values or families
of values that we, that we use.
And that would be middle grey, when we were doing the lay-in.
And then that will turn to a dark gray.
We're going to have black and we're going to have within the light pattern, not
just white, but planes that are halftones.
Those are the planes that are receiving direct light, but at an angle.
So as opposed to planes that are getting the direct light, almost at a right angle.
LEt's go a little more into the history of plaster casts.
Classical sculpture was at its time painted, but over the centuries,
of course, the paint has given way.
And so we unearth, excavated, busts of heads, particularly Roman busts and
Greek and Roman copies of full-figured sculpture, larger than life in many cases.
So they present themselves to those of us alive today.
And when many of them were unearthed in the 1500s as pretty much a plaster cast.
They have veins in many cases, obviously to the marble and or there were actually
more bronzes than probably marbles that were produced in the classical era.
So those present a little more difficulty in terms of drawing from them.
But if you lived at that time in the 1500s or the late Renaissance, it was
very exciting what was being uncovered.
And for instance, the Laocoön a set of three figures done in the
Hellenistic period in ancient Greece.
It was unearthed during Michelangelo's lifetime and confirmed him in
his interests and inspired him.
So when we look at a sculpture like this of Brutus, which was done, well, more
than a thousand years after the height of Roman portrait sculpture, it's done in the
vein of both the Greeks and the Romans.
It's a specific head, but it's also not since we don't really - Michelangelo,
didn't have Brutus to sit for him.
He had to imagine Brutus from the literature of the
time in the 19th century.
Study from plaster cast was at its pinnacle in his heyday, the French
government sponsored art school.
Not for everybody.
You know, people who went to the schools called the Royal Academy first.
And then after the revolution, they were called the école des beaux-arts
which is a school of fine arts.
And they wanted through their art to glorify the empire.
This would be true of painting.
Especially in the Napoleonic period and the revolutionary period.
And it would be true also more particularly in the realm of, I
shouldn't say more particularly, but in the realm of sculpture as well
for a time, students were discouraged from drawing from life at all.
Not even allowed.
So they worked strictly from plaster casts.
So the plaster cast was a staple in all of these programs, other schools too.
What the Russians studied in Paris they brought back with them.
So Eastern Europeans and central Europeans would go to Paris to study.
That's not to say there weren't also ateliers in Germany and
Italy and elsewhere, but this was really the beating heart of it.
Now the Royal Academy in England was formed by sir Joshua Reynolds.
And that was something like the 1670s or 60s.
And it produced some of the most remarkable portrait painters ever.
In fact, I think that that's possibly England's brightest light
in its entire painting history.
The Royal Academy schools graduated about 11,000 art students in the
19th century from a country with a relatively small population.
In fact, one quote from earlier in this period of academic figured
line was that anyone who can learn to write can learn to draw.
That didn't mean everyone had the privilege of being able to go.
First of all, a lot of the youth had to spend their time working.
Speaks for itself.
So it was often the upper crust who tended the academies pretty much exclusively.
And what continued the tradition of academic figure drawing
and painting was actually illustration in the United States.
And these were the people that studied with Bridgeman like Norman Rockwell.
These were the people that studied with Riley, like James Bama, John
Asaro, and they were schooled using both plaster casts and figure drawing.
Now, by the time in the 1930s that Frank Riley succeeded to the lead
position and teaching, drawing, and painting at the Art Students League.
By that time, illustration was in its Golden Age.
Illustration was preferable to photography because the technology of the day
allowed for easier printing of a painted image than of a photographic image.
This changed in the late 1960s, 70s and has changed ever since.
So now those processes are so good that illustration, as such winnowed
down considerably from what it was then.
We can look back on almost any artist and find a period where
they studied from plaster casts.
One of the great benefits from drawing from something like that
it is a human head but it's been designed by a master artists.
And so that's why I used to like to draw from Bernini in my books on his sculpture.
Because when you draw from the artist who's producing a 3D sculpture, it's
kind of like you are what you eat.
You're imbibing what that artist's sensibilities are.
It's not just something straight out of a magazine or a newspaper clipping.
So that's a little bit of what I know about plaster casts and I
have used them in lieu of a model or in conjunction with a model.
They're just great.
I wish it were a little easier to find inexpensive plaster casts, but
I know that there are some, that'll be coming up soon on the market
because that's changing a bit now.
I'm going to do my best to do a good study here of Brutus, and we're going to
change the lighting on him so that it's a single source of light, makes it dramatic.
Makes everything quite clear.
Transcription not available.
off with a two or three drawings of how to lay in these forms.
And so I won't finish these first few, but I want you to get a good
understanding of how to approach laying in a subject like this.
So we're looking at a fully front view just above eye level of the head.
So I just want to draw a front axis that goes between the eyes
down the bridge of the nose through the middle of the lip to the jaw.
Don't, don't draw this larger than life, but don't draw too much smaller either.
The hair as a little bit of height to the head,
I'm going to find the Brown line distance between the scalp and the bone
of the brow overlapping the eye socket.
Notice I'm drawing fairly light and I'm going to draw a point halfway between
the brow and the base of the jaw.
That would be the bottom of the nose.
If I take that distance, jaw to nose, and divide it in half,
that's the bottom of the lower lip.
These are standard head proportions, but we're going to look for
variations in each individual.
Now I want to draw, remember the head is not an egg.
It's more of a box.
It has a front plane and two side planes.
So here at the temple, the form of the head turns back to the side plane.
If I take another line halfway between the brow and the base of
the nose on average, that gives us the bottom of the eye socket.
You'll notice how the light describes the form as it streams over the form.
So now let's see.
Here's the angle of the keystone shape above the nose.
And here's the angle of the septum at the base of the nose and here,
the bridge of the nose separated into three, three distinct sets of planes.
So that'd be the nasal bone, the bridge of the nose where the septal cartilage is.
Here's the corner of the window of the nose on each side.
And remember I said, we're going to separate the light
pattern from the shadow pattern.
So that's where they break at the base of the nose.
And here's the septum of the nose with the wing of the nose next to it.
Here's where the nose joins the front of the face.
Here's the shadow cast by the nose, over the barrel of the mouth.
And then here's the shadow continuum along the side plane of the nose and
essentially just a vertical shape.
Now when drawing the mouth, I try to simplify everything.
But in this case, one of the best strategies is just to draw an eclipse
out of which we will draw the geometry of the planes just as we did with the nose.
Now you'll notice it can get a little tricky.
Is the upper lip actually in shadow or is it part of a light pattern
with a couple shadows here and there
along the way?
One thing I know is that the shadow from the nose casts over the lip, and
then we find here the overlap of the peak of a lip above the lower lip.
And then here, this is the wing of the lip.
And there we are drawing from the peak to the corner or wing of the lip.
The shadow continues over the lower lip.
The lower lip turns under about here.
This is one of the chin is overlapped by the plane beneath the lip.
If you look at Bargue and you look at how he breaks it down to simple
geometry that's the stage I'm at here.
So here's a cast shadow over the eye socket.
It runs just above the cheek and here's the bottom of the
plane beneath the eye socket.
And here is kind of an S curve shape.
I'll break it into two shapes for the brow as it overlaps the eye socket.
And then this is the shadow continuing over the cheek here,
this is the turning of a form known as the tooth cylinder surrounding
the entire upper and lower teeth.
And so here we see the cheek turning into shadow, leaving a light shape like this.
You can look at the shape that you've yielded in drawing these shapes.
In fact, you should, because that's a good, that's a good way
of seeing things with fresh eyes.
Here's the shadow.
Cast over the chin.
Here's the front of the chin.
And here you see it turning away from the light.
Now, one of the things I'm doing is I'm holding up my pencil at least
mentally at 90 degrees to the ground.
And when I do that, I can see that the wing of the nose lines up just about
if this part of the shadow over his chin, if I don't do it, I might hit it.
But I haven't really tested it.
So it's the same thing to do.
And you can do the same thing by holding your pencil horizontally like that,
and then not where you can compare.
Well, here's the base of the septum and here's where the plane
changes from diagonal to vertical.
And this lined up above that point or below that point.
So this is equally important.
So we're comparing both vertically and horizontally how forms lie on our subject.
There's a shadow here beneath the brow.
All of the forms inside the eye socket are in shadow.
I'm not even going to draw them.
I'm just right now, focusing on the light and dark pattern.
Here's the brow ridge turning from the light into the side plane.
Here is the frontal prominence of the cranium.
And that's the angle between them.
There's the angle of the cheek.
Or the zygoma.
on this side?
Let's have a look at how to describe the eye socket.
Here's the overlapping muscle of the eyelid.
There's the shadow beneath the eyelid, which you'll notice is thick, not thin.
The eyelid has depth.
It is three-dimensional.
And here's the shadow cast over the eyeball,
and we've studied this shape a little more carefully now.
A little later in the demonstration, I'll conclude by drawing Brutus to a finish.
When I do that,
Oh, I haven't turned to a three quarter, not a front view.
You'll notice the course when I do it
at the the approach will be identical, only the angle and possibly the light.
Will be different, but the thinking on the approach will be identical,
regardless of the head is positioned in profile, back view, three quarter
view, or front view, like this.
Finished drawing will have both curves and angles, but this stage is going to rest
predominantly, predominantly on angles.
You have several shapes here and don't go into the little shapes,
just the light and dark shapes.
This is the angle of the silhouette of his face in front of his ear and hair.
There's the angle of his hair above the ear.
Here's the part of the ear we see, the rest is covered by hair.
There are a few small isolated shadow shapes on the light side of his hair,
but they're not particularly important.
Well, there's a point where the job changes from a
vertical thrust to a diagonal.
Let's call called the angle of the jaw, I'm lining it up
here, just above the chin.
If the head tilted back farther or tilted forward, then the
position would be different.
But in this angle, that's it.
There's a cast shadow below the ear and here the hair turns under into
shadow and then continues for the neck.
Here we see the neck, just off the vertical and here we
follow the angle of the jaw.
Now this approach yields a a very chiseled kind of, a feeling to the form.
That's actually not a bad thing, particularly in the male head.
Okay the chin ends and the under plane of the head you can see
it, it's got a lot of reflected light coming off of his neck and a pedestal.
So don't pay too much attention to that now, but structurally, I put it
in any way, cause it helps me move on through the placing or spacing and
placing of the forms back this stage.
And I'm drawing whether it's from life or from a plaster cast.
I refer to as spacing and placing the forms.
How is it that I'm able to place my shapes and put them in such a clean manner?
see if I have the position of this part of the neck, and then I've got this place
where it's overlapping the trapezius muscle behind it, I can put point A
and point B lightly on my page and then draw directly from lunch to the other.
So I don't have to scribble my way feeling my way like that.
That's not very economical and it doesn't yield the kind of clean
spontaneous look that I appreciate in
drawings of the head, the figure, whether they're plaster casts
are alive or from photographs.
It's a cast shadow over the forehead, right there.
I raised the hair a little bit.
This is why we draw lightly.
It's easy to make corrections, revisions, improvements, adjustments.
So then here is the underplaying of the head as it overlaps the neck.
And this was the shadow cast over isn't it, it may be hard to see
because there are reflected lights and secondary shadows, but if you squint.
You should be able to see the main shadow itself, squinting eliminates distractions.
And that's one of the main reasons we always do.
And that's for shoulder, at least out to the clavicle behind the neck.
Well, we don't want to just get a feeling of totally flat forms.
You can see the overlaps can be helpful too.
So now we just clean up what we started concrete on charcoal do smear
at this stage it doesn't matter.
We can just easily clean that up.
So do it now.
You won't have to do it later.
Don't forget the eraser is not just for correction.
In itself it is a drawing tool.
Notice I arranged the head in such a way that I described it from the inside out.
Yes, I need in about a three by two, three, two egg-shape, then I
broke it down using a front axis.
If this were a three quarter view, not in front view, the axis would not be centered
like this, but I still started with that.
Then I made my marks, my divisions for the features and main planes
of the head, particularly the cranium, facial mass, and jaw.
Those are the three volumes of the head.
The features themselves won't be effective if those volumes are drawn inaccurately.
Charlie Brown has facial features, but his head is flat.
There's no distinction between any of those three volumes.
And of course that's what the cartoon is wanted.
But here we don't.
So you want to always make it clear that the head has most
importantly, those three volumes.
I'll now do the same set of strokes and understandings.
I hope with our next subject, a plaster cast of Venus de Milo,
great sculpture, Milo and Athena or Venus as the Romans knew her.
So we want to really get a sense that as if I were to finish this particular
angle on Brutus, I would really try to push even more some of the determination
that Michelangelo expressed in the head.
So we're going to stop here at this lay in and then I'm
going to demonstrate a female.
You'll understand that the approach is identical for
adults, children, both sexes.
For that matter drawing almost anything three dimensional.
see, as it develops in a minute, and it's a three quarter almost profile view.
So we change sexes and we change the angle, but the approach will be the same.
So here we go.
I'll do this one and then I'll do Michelangelo's famous, dying slave.
When we're drawing a three-quarter or a profile we have to add to the width of
the head because the cranium takes up two thirds the volume of the entire head.
So it's no longer a three by two, it's almost a three by three relationship.
Now the axis moves way over.
If it were front axis, it would be here.
So a good little trick or I hate calling things tricks, but a device you can use
is if you take the distance from here to front view axis, and then you take that
same distance and you add it to the back of the head here, then that's where we
get the width of the back of the cranium.
Now I'm going to draw from the top of the head here to the chin.
And divide the distance in half
I'm also going to indicate here the turning of the front plane
of the head to the side plane.
Notice it's a little more vertical.
It change the direction from here to here on the cranium, more diagonal on the face.
I'll take the point of the brow to the chin, divide it in half gives me the the
base of the nose, just like the previous lay in, divide that distance in half, that
gives me the bottom of the lower lip.
And if you want to divide this distance from the proud of the base of the nose
in half, that's where you're likely to find the bottom of the eye socket.
So these are my first moves, not even placing the neck or
doing anything with her hair.
A word on the hair.
When we get into the hair, there's an awful lot of texture.
Try to squint and just see the form.
So with this texture you'll see small dark shapes in the light, and you'll
see small light shapes in the dark.
But if you squint, you can mostly do away with those.
Form is far more important than texture.
In some ways you can combine them and draw them simultaneously, but
we're not going to be doing that now.
So here is the center of the bridge of the nose and here's a tip.
So my approximate angle is this.
Then I find the width at the bridge of the nose.
And then I turn the septum of the nose under beneath the tip.
Here's the tip of this is the septum.
And then we look at the angle of the wings of the nose.
Only one of which is visible in this angle.
Remember, I'm going to be breaking this down with simple geometry.
Typically the nose makes the face above the lip, halfway from the tip to the wing.
Now, even if these standard proportions aren't the case in any specific individual
study, at the very least, they give us a yardstick to measure against.
So they're useful in all cases, notice the utter simplicity of the brow.
And it's a slight curve angling down from left to, right.
That is to say from the nose to the cheek.
If I take a line from the wing of the nose, that's parallel
to the angle of the bridge.
That is the standard position for the eye, for the tear duct.
And obviously that can be very helpful in fact important in
describing the eye socket.
Another thing I look for is where does the nose overlap the opposite eye socket
here is the eyebrow and beneath it a muscle known as the orbicularis oculi.
And that just means the muscle that it orbits
What's the Oculus?
That's where the eye overlaps the nasal bone here.
This is where the muscle overlaps the eye.
So we're already thinking overlaps if you convey overlapping form,
well then by definition, you're working in a three dimensions.
Paperstock is just two dimensional.
It doesn't overlap itself.
Now this is a cast shadow, which runs down just about to the upper lip.
So again, just using three simple shapes as curves, see curves of straights.
If you make a mistake or you need to erase or revise, do it,
don't wait until you've gone.
Three quarters of the way through the drawing.
That's not the time for it.
So to my point here, we find a straight,
That's the most basic shape.
Here is a C curve
and here is an S curve.
You can find S curves in so many places.
You could find them at the back of the thigh.
You could find them in the hair.
You can find C shapes everywhere in the angle of the cheek, which we're
going to come to or here in the turning of the wing of the nose into
shadow or here we get this shadow just above the wing of the nose.
Now and that's where it can be a deep S curve like this
or shallow S curve like this one, the same goes for I'm sorry, C curve
an S curve can be deepest curve.
And one part of it can have a deeper curve than the rest.
But still it breaks down into a simple shape.
It's actually, you can think of it as a composite of two C shapes put
together, but it's simpler in the doing thinking it as a separate shape.
The fewest - among these three shapes, the fewest that are found
in figure work are straights.
They are used sometimes for developing the angle of a shoulder or in the case
of a Greek nose like this, the bridge of the nose can be seen as a straight, but
they're the least common among the shapes that we find in the head and the figure.
So let's see.
We get a shadow here at the inside of the nasal bone and with the light coming
from above, we'll see the socket turning into shadow, and then this shadow sweeps
down and unites with that cast shadow.
I can draw the socket.
I can continue and finish it.
For, since I like to keep track of drawing, the whole thing I
can find instead the the map.
So there's the peak of the lip overlapping the lower lip.
Here let's find how that works here.
And then coming from beneath it, here, we pick up the lower lip and then
here is the corner or wing of the lip.
Then there's a muscle coming up from the jaw, which joins the muscle
surrounding the mouth and creates this almost like a dimple shape
that knows needs to be a little longer.
So like I said, make your adjustment.
Here coming from behind the peak of the lip, we pick up the lower lip.
Which is quite full.
There's a shadow cast over the corner of the mouth.
And then this is the turning under from the front plane to the underplaying
of that muscle surrounding the mouth, which is also what makes up the lips.
Take your time on your measuring.
You don't give extra points for drawing or painting that was done really quickly, and
you're going to succeed much more often.
If you take your time and measure carefully, this is really very much
like the old saying that a carpenter measures twice and cuts just once.
If you have to go back and redraw forms that are misplaced or that
are out of scale, then that's not going to make, make the execution
of your work any faster anyway.
A lot of people get impatient and so then they start to rush.
Might not even notice that that's happening, but that is
something to avoid in my classes.
I tell my students, they listen and do this, but I'd much rather have a partial
drawing at the end of the session that's really nicely done then a drawing that's
complete from head to toe in equal level amount of finish, but it's an
inelegant drawing or it just doesn't work.
So your speed is something that will actually pick up
as you practice over time.
It's not something I really think of.
It's not entirely true.
I do have sometimes an art director who asked for something at seven
in the morning and then call me up a day and a half before and say I
needed a seven the night before.
Well, that's the new deadline.
That's all it is.
And so after you become a professional in any of the areas of drawing and
painting, you will need to have different gears, a faster, more
slow considerate one and so on.
But for this, when I was studying from life and plaster casts, There was no
premium placed on how fast you did it, even as you get into more figure
drawing and you have quick sketch poses, those can be as fast as one minute.
Well, I don't care.
Just draw that, which you can get to as well as you can.
And that just takes concentration, concentration suffers when you hurry.
Kind of like the tortoise and the Hare story, and we know who wins out.
In case you don't it's the tortoise.
I'm just massing my darks together.
When I refer to massing my darks together, or my lights together
with each other what I mean by that is let's take a good example.
We have a form shadow has to say where the light meets the shadow and the form
turns into part of the dark pattern.
We also beneath that we have a shadow cast by the nose.
So here's the form show area.
Then this is the shadow.
You can see cast by the nose, above the mouth.
That's called a cast shadow.
I'm not going to draw a distinction between where the form shadow ends
and the cast shadow beneath it starts.
You see I'll mask them together.
There are plenty of other examples throughout the head, too.
It's the same with the figure.
And it's the same with drawing anything, which is after all the purpose here.
And we need to simplify our light and dark pattern.
And massing values goes hand in hand with that.
Let me explain.
There are a million different values in this subject and we can't hope or even
want to draw a million separate values.
So we house them in categories.
The first most elemental category is light pattern as opposed to dark pattern.
Was a plaster cast, dark pattern means shadows.
From there we apply a tone to the shadows like here.
Now there are shadows that get reflected light.
There are other shadows that are deep tucked in among each other.
So they're darker.
They get the least reflected light.
When I start getting involved with that, I'm introducing too many values into
my composition and into my rendering.
We can always, as we draw toward a finish and you'll see that in mind finished
strong example, just coming up, we can always break it down into secondary
and tertiary values, but we start off basically with the light and the shadow.
And then within the shadow, we look for the darkest points.
So it would be moving from a dark gray to black and within the light,
we would be putting in some of the planes that are receiving direct
light, such as this one under the eye.
But we would put half tone, which is a light gray, over them.
So you really start off by summarizing it a head into its basic elements.
And this is by the way later on, when you're really doing a lot of good
figure work, how you and compose a composition is very important as you
know, and If you start off with a million little values, you can't possibly do
thumbnail compositions to set your your, your work cause on your work.
So you want to be able to express it quickly and cleanly.
And by the way, this is how we see if you squint, which is your best friend, you
will see the form to figure whether it's a tree trunk or a head or hand or pear.
It doesn't matter.
You'll see it in the manner that we actually look at the world,
we don't scrutinize the world
the way a scientist would look at something like a slide under a microscope.
That's necessary for that discipline for us.
That is not how we see.
We don't see everything in even focus.
And we see in a simplified set of values.
This is a really part of the science of seeing.
It is true that a camera doesn't make those decisions.
We as artists have decisions to make everything I draw, everything you'll
draw is quite different from just going on autopilot and copying everything.
You see, we are the ones who direct the viewer's eye.
Every composition should have a focal point or what we call
an illustration, a first read.
In other words, when you look at the image within the frame,
what is it that you first see?
Is it where he wants to have the focus or is it somewhere pint, like
a closet doorknob, which he lovingly rendered, but is not particularly what
the viewer would normally look at.
So it's necessary for us to understand our tools and manners in
which to simplify and express them.
So that's what we do when we mass our values together.
We're actually, we're reducing the millions of values that are around us,
our room, or a landscape, or reducing them to a handful of easily expressed values.
And then you can subdivide those infinitely as you've
achieved was very few painters.
They leave the thing with far fewer values that nature expresses itself
in because we're not drawing nature.
We're drawing where we see nature.
Titian and Velasquez we're pretty much the first innovators when it came to
drawing the science of what we see.
Botticelli, others, wonderful artists.
Botticelli's case he drew everything pretty much with the same even edge and
same level of detail as the main figures.
Where they were placed, gave us a sense of the first read or focal point.
But other than that, they had uniform edges, so beautifully designed figures,
but they're not naturalistic as such.
We can't hope to focus our eye evenly on our environment, whether
it's lying in your bedroom or whether you're walking along the
sidewalk on a leafy day in spring.
We'll process it that way.
It's just not paid on wines.
Aren't made my brains aren't made to do that.
So we have to draw the way we see.
Throughout art history.
There have been a number of very important.
I shouldn't call them discoveries, but they're pretty much that.
And one of the most important was what I just described.
Another was making distinctions on how we eliminate our subject, the lighting.
Before Caravaggio and he wasn't the only, but he was
the big mover and shaker, we tended to draw figures in ambient lighting,
overall lighting that is, even lighting, kind of like we need to get
on a gray day or in an office building with ambient light all around you.
Well, Caravaggio developed the fullest expression until then of
chiaroscuro and that means light and shadow in Italian and so to do it
he illuminated his models with a single source of light, not multiple
sources, but a single source of direct light, such as we're using today.
And because of its effect, it is simply known as form lighting.
It's the best describer as a light, as a light source of form.
It gives you a very dramatic sense of the material as opposed to the atmospheric.
And it's been used as much as ambient light over a light ever
since by painters and illustrators,
we can think particularly of Rembrandt
and how he staged his models.
Single source of light.
So you can actually use that light and dark pattern to can a
really strong grip on the likeness and structure of your subject.
And this goes for still life, as well as figure
no, I said I was not going to deal extensively with
the texture, which we find in the hair.
So let me show how I would simplify that.
When I draw here, for instance, the hair at the forehead,
I draw the relationship of the two hats that are hair.
I don't draw the hair itself.
But I first start with this arc and that's how I draw torsos
and arms, almost everything
on that relationship.
I draw the specific thing itself.
It's more things.
Imagine a Pearl necklace.
Would you start by drawing every pearl?
You would draw the arc among those pearls.
And then onto it, you could add pearls or gems or whatever, but
you start with the relationship.
a plaster cast, true of live models, true of still life, true of a line of mountains in a
In fact, everything that we draw is informed.
It covers every phenomenon you're going to encounter in all subjects artistic.
The only exception is deep space atmosphere perspective, like
in the distance, the mountains, otherwise everything is involved
with the drawing of the head.
This is a cast shadow over the lower lip.
This is a form shadow turning under.
In an angular way, the upper lip,
this is a shadow cast by the lower lip above the chin.
We'll clean up some of these strokes, which I drew lightly
and for my next trick.
I will draw the head from Michelangelo's famous dying slave.
It's a bit more of a romantic aesthetic expression, as opposed to these.
Venus de Milo is very calm.
And Brutus is resolute, but fairly static.
In this case, the real pathos in the sculpture.
And so we'll end up, we'll do that one.
And our next step, after that I'll work on - I will do a finished drawing
from one of these sculptures for you.
of a finished drawing.
I want to just back up a moment and just remind you that if you use the
side of the pencil, like I'm doing, I haven't sharpened this at all.
Since I've done both of these lay ins and you know, you can get a fine line just
by drawing here with the axis of the lead, or you can get a painted tone by
drawing against the axis of the lead.
So that's the main advantage in using a pencil that sharpened to this degree
and in this manner, it's just done with a razor blade, carved with wood, and
the adhesive and then its used the razor blade to shape the lance tip.
And then if you like, you can go ahead and sharpen it on the
sandpaper pad to finish it off.
So here we not only have a three quarter view slight, but
we have a very strong upshot.
We're looking up into the head.
Just a couple of notes. In a case like this, when the head is at
eye level, the ear lobes line up with the base of the nose.
But because that's the pivot point for the whole head on, on the neck, when the head
is above us, the facial features rise.
And so now the base of the nose is much higher than the lobes of the ear.
Now, here too sometimes when I have life drawing, I'll ask the model to close
his or her eyes and then we don't get distractions from the shadow under the
lid or the lashes, or even the iris.
And then I'll have the model open up after the students have
seen the simplicity of the form.
Here we see that.
You'll notice the left eye of the slave is turning from light into shadow.
And his right eye is - it's getting the light fairly directly.
So as I go, we'll make mention of some of these points.
For starters, since the head is tilted, it's not only looking up
- we're not only looking up under it, but the head is tilted
from one side to the other.
The head can rotate,
it can tilt and it can - it can go up and down.
So now you'll see, I realized I was making some of those talking
points without a reference for you.
But now here we go.
So my egg shape is going to be angled.
And front axis is not going to be centered because it's
not really a full front view.
The chin is above the under plane of the head, attached to the neck.
So now I'm going to place the brow line and turn the head from front
plane to temple or side plane.
I'm going to add a lot more width because of the hair.
So that's just a reminder of that.
Now the base of the nose is still halfway from the brow to the base of the
chin and the bottom of the lower lip.
from this point to this. I could start a number of ways, but I think it's
easiest to start here where the brow meets the bridge of the nose, and then
I'll pick up the angle of the nose
and the width. This is just a half tone.
The width of the bridge of the nose.
And I'll place the bottom form or forms of the eye socket
relative to the base of the nose.
So here's where the septum turns from its top plane, at the
bridge to its under plane and then carries on to the wings here
This is pretty much the same way I draw from the a live model.
Remember, if you do find a good plaster cast and you've got it at
home, you can position it at any angle, light it in any way and
it provides a great resource for study.
Even if you're taking life drawing classes, when the class is over the
drawing shouldn't stop, you should be doing at least I would suggest one hour
of homework for every hour in class.
And if you're only taking one class or two, you should
consider doing more than that.
There's the shadow over the eye socket created by the bridge of the nose.
Here is side plane of the nose.
Here's the cast shadow over the tooth cylinder above the lips.
If we take Charles Bargue, Gerome's student, as our inspiration, he doesn't
really have to stage distinguish between hard edges and soft edges.
He just maps it out.
That's fine too.
And for the most part, that's what I'm doing with these.
Remember, we're using basic shapes, straights, C curves, and S curves.
Is that only way to draw?
No, of course not.
It's a harmonious way to draw.
It's really helpful in establishing rhythms, relationships between different
sets of shapes on the heads, the figure, or anything, but maybe we don't want that.
Maybe we want something that's a nervous kind of
disorienting kind of a of an approach.
I think of Ralph Steadman, who did the Hunter Thompson books, or Egon
Schiele who was Gustav Klimt's famous expressionists student.
But you know, it's a little easier,
It comes naturally to us to draw in a kind of a disjointed expressionistic way.
It takes a little more training to learn how to draw in what I refer
to as an emphasis on harmony.
If you can do that, which is harmonious and rhythmical, I do believe you
can you can do the eccentric and the nervous line for instance, which I like.
I use that sometimes too.
Cast shadow over the chin.
Do you notice how the shadows tend to echo each other or move
in the same general direction?
There's a simple reason
and that's because we angle with light source, which is no different
in its effect on the mouth from its effect on the brow or the eye socket
or the side of the nose or the chin.
Speaking of the chin, let's find the center of it and the side.
You'll remember, we're looking for this parallel angle to the bridge of the
nose, and that's going to give us the approximate placement of the tear duct.
Here's the under plane of the brow and the muscle overlapping the ball of the eye.
Not to be drawn too dark.
It's after all, only half tone and not a shadow.
This shadow is cast over the volume, the bridge of the nose, and then
describes the form of the eye beneath it.
This shadows is cast again over the ball of the eye.
That's what we're drawing.
Yeah, the lids are there, but
they're following the form of the ball of the eye.
To find the placement of the overlapping lid it might help to put in half tones on
either side of that sphere, even with the sleeves of the eyelid's over that ball,
it's effectively and essentially a sphere.
There is a shadow cast by his eye, over his cheek
and by his brow over his cheek.
Here's the bone of his cheek, the zygoma.
And here are
the muscles descending from the zygomatic process to the corners of the mouth.
We don't see the entire eye
on this, the left side of his head, the right side
as we look at it.
We do see in shadow the front plane of his lower lid.
I'll just slightly redesign that cast shadow. You'll notice I gave it an
S curve where it overlaps his cheek.
This hair is almost perpendicular to the ground.
Here we got a shadow cast over his forehead, by the front of his hair.
Here is the entire relationship of the hair wrapping over his forehead.
Like a cap. And here
we're picking up the cheekbone and muscles coming down to the jaw and mouth.
Establish the same thing on the opposite side.
This angle is perpendicular to the ground. And here
we found the ear lobe, lining up with just the beneath the upper lip, right there.
Drop down vertically towards the angle of the jaw.
Cast shadow over his locks here.
How are we going to do this?
This is the - beyond the jaw.
I mean, beyond the chin, towards the jaw.
And it actually turns from light to shadow with almost a lost edge.
We have three kinds of edges.
We have hard edges like here, we have soft edges,
let's see where. Like, let's put it in now.
This is the under plane of his hair mass.
This is his head pressed against the neck.
Here's a beautiful S curve.
You can see how I design using just a couple of shapes. The back of the hair.
If I have two shapes, I try wherever possible to reduce them to just one shape.
If I have three shapes, I try to reduce them to one shape too.
The simpler the expression the better, and certainly by the way,
easier to do a lay in like this.
Here's the front of the neck of the Adam's apple.
Here's the muscle coming up from the sternum to the back of the head.
And here is just the base of the cast.
Again, S curves, C curves, and straights.
So essentially that's it.
I'm just going to take my eraser and remove some of the construction lines
or rhythm lines or composition lines.
They generally, for me at least, serve all three of those purposes.
Let's just talk about rhythm for a minute.
We have three basic relationships in drawing anything,
but particularly people or animals. One of them is spatial relationship.
Like how far is it from the brow
to the bottom of his hair.
That's a simple spatial relationship.
You can hit it just right.
You could be off, but either way, that's a spatial relationship.
Next we have anatomical relationships.
Well, for instance, we talked about muscle coming up here from the
jaw to the corner of the mouth.
If that line, or that short little angle is expressed or
placed in a different spot,
you may have
missed out on your anatomical relationship and it will look off, you see, if you
get both of those, the spatial and the anatomical relationships you would think,
well, there we go.
Say no more.
No, just because a writer can do a text manual, write a manual for a piece of
equipment machinery, or what have you
and it's perfectly accurate,
it describes the workings of the machine,
all of that is right on, but it still is not as good as
somebody who is, has studied the final and telling relationship.
And that is rhythmical relationships.
If I were to do a tracing on my own drawing, put a piece of tracing paper over
it, I'm sure I could find, I know better rhythmical relationships among my forms.
And if we look at the work of Leyendecker or Mucha, or any number of other
great artists, sculptors as well, oftentimes what separates an accurate
artist from a truly great artist is the third type of relationship.
Not just the spatial, not just the anatomical even, but spatially
the rhythmical relationships.
And that's what you're going to find, even if you're not really looking for it
you'll sense it in the work of almost all the artists whose names
I've mentioned in this lesson.
so that's essentially where we are with this one.
So once again, just broken down into simple geometric lines.
A few of the edges are softened, short hand reminders to myself that if
I were to carry this farther, they would need different sets of edges.
Well, I guess finally, I better put this in.
This is where his hair changes from light to dark, i.e. from shadow to dark.
Don't get caught up in the little rhythms.
In drawing drapery you draw the folds, the creases come
later because that's the form.
The folds get us form,
the creases are texture.
And when we're drawing hair, we draw the form of it
before we draw the texture.
Transcription not available.
Reference Images (15)
Free to try
1. Introduction to Drawing Plaster Casts9m 37sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Learning Recommendation24s
3. Lay-in of Brutus20m 0s
4. Lay-in of Venus de Milo25m 14s
5. Lay-in of The Rebellious Slave19m 31s